Clayful, a digital platform, provides quick access for 8 to 18-year-olds to mental health professionals, boasting a 60-second response time. The company recently garnered $7 million from investors like Google Latino Founders Fund and others.
CEO Maria Barrera emphasizes Clayful’s mission to offer every student a reliable, certified coach accessible on their devices, tailored to their schedules and environments.
Barrera’s motivation stemmed from a concerning rise in youth suicides, highlighted in a New York Times piece. Recognizing schools as vital for mental health services, she observed the overwhelming demand on school counselors, sparking the creation of Clayful.
The startup addresses the gap highlighted by the American School Counselor Association, noting the current imbalance between counselors and students.
Co-founders Barrera and Melissa Pelochino, both with extensive backgrounds in edtech and education, launched Clayful to bridge this gap. Their diverse experiences, including Pelochino’s roles at Google and the Gates Foundation, contribute to their vision.
Clayful, which began piloting in spring 2022, now collaborates with over 50 schools, offering chat-based mental health coaching to thousands of students, as reported to TechCrunch.
Targeting school district leaders, the company aims to democratize access to mental health services. Its standout feature, as opposed to competitors like Daybreak and Cartwheel, is the instant messaging function that connects students with mental health experts within a minute.
The service focuses on real-time, chat-based support without in-person meetings, emphasizing immediate assistance for students in managing daily challenges and emotional regulation.
Offering services in 133 languages, the firm ensures inclusivity and is free for students, funded by school districts. Data shows that students engaging with Clayful’s chat programs have higher attendance rates compared to those who don’t.
As a fully remote organization with over 100 staff, including mental care coaches, Clayful plans to use the new funds to expand its team and reach more students and schools.